On Saturday October 20th, CPP Marketing and Promotions held their 7th annual artist showcase at Sidewalk Cafe in Manhattan which was headlined by Meyhem Lauren and a stacked with many local luminaries and out-of-town guests whom flocked to the city that birthed hip hop.
Widmark is a local MC whose first mixtape 8012 can be found here.
Raven Sorvino is from LA by way of Richmond, Texas (outside Houston) and she carries with her a distinct flow which shows that she isn't rooted to just one place or experience. Certainly West Coast flavored but with Southern flair that doesn't trade in the stereotypical sounds of either location. You can check out Playa Del Rey directly from her website.
Though Mike Baker the Bike Maker may be overshadowed on the East Coast by the other members of Honor Roll Crew like Trackademics his fast delivery and clever wordplay over very San Francisco party beats really made him stand out and hold his own in a New York heavy line up. You can (and should) check out Mike Plays it Cool from here.
J. Voltik was literally unlike anything else on the line up with some heavy and distorted electro-pan-african rhythms closer to futurist stuff like Rammellzee than Redman, though that kind of traditionalist flow rears its head from time to time. I'd love to see Voltik share a bill with someone like Ratking. You should check out The Voltik Project here.
$amhill is a rapper I didn't know at all but he had a very easy going flow, which isn't to say it's soft at all. He has a very calm and measured style which was almost conversational. He has two debut projects coming out this year. Read up on him at this interview at Unkut.com which includes a video and short documentary by Ralph McDaniels.
Shaz Illyork was the exact opposite spitting with so much passion that he seemed like caged tiger as he ripped the stage up. Absolutely cop Before It all Happened here and if you're a fan of the people making noise out of NYC like Action Bronson and Meyhem Lauren do not sleep on Shaz Illyork. He's got a wild and passionate style that threatens to slip out from underneath him at any moment. He was joined onstage by a 19 year old kid whose name I didn't catch who could also throw down. He plays at Pyramid Club on October 28. I cannot recommend seeing him live enough.
I'm going to ask the question: Why is Maffew Ragazino Sr not more famous? What does he have to do? He has a million good mix tapes with great tracks. He's featured on some heavy releases and he get shout outs from everyone who is anyone in both the underground and in the blogs. He is charismatic and has a great ear for beats and has a classical East Coast flow. I'm not even going to talk to you anymore until you download Rhyme Pays and start salivating for White Gold and Black Gold, his next two projects.
Rasheed Chappell is famously signed by Kenny Dope of classic house legends Masters at Work who have proven they know amazing sounds for over twenty years and this pick shows that they haven't missed a beat. Rasheed is a bit older and as such he's not rhyming like is trying to live up to his older brother's record collection because he was there and he heard it all when it was new. His sound is harder to describe but it's a bit more soulful and more like a man who knows his time will come and he's content to wait for the rest of us to catch up. You can check out snippets of that Kenny Dope produced album Future Before Nostalgia here. He performed with DJ JS-1 who released that 3 hour mix of un-released rap demos earlier this year.
Meyhem Lauren is still that man and he makes sure that you not only know his name but you know who is friends are as once again he brought out AG Da Coroner, J-Love and Mathematic Scientific to help him out on his set. Due to scheduling conflicts that always creep up his set was forced to a very short 20 minutes, but Meyhem played in the crowd for half of that talking right to the audience like “though I'm holding the mic, I'm still one of you.” That appreciation for his audience, his family, shines through as he makes sure that you have as much fun as he does at his shows. Playing to a handful of people in Sidewalk cafe who know every word or to an audience of soon-to-be fans at Shea Stadium, he treats you the same. Great energy, great beats, great flow and a great heart make Meyhem Lauren one of the best in what is just a part of all the great things happening in hip hop. Like I said last time, you can pick up Respect the Fly Shit for free here and once more, you absolutely should. Do you absolute best to make it out to a Meyhem Lauren show if you can.
Shoutouts to CPP Promotions for this amazing showcase. I'll see you all next year for certain. Shoutouts to Ralph McDaniels from our other photo editor, Edwina, who says you were a hugely important part of her life in the 80s and 90s thanks to your program “Video Music Box,” which celebrates their 30th anniversary next year.